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Welcome to the South Asian Health Solution

This is not just for South Asians. It’s for anyone from any culture who struggles with insulin resistance, losing fat, preventing chronic illness, or achieving their own personal health goals. South Asians have unfortunately become a world leader in insulin resistance, the underlying condition that causes most cases of diabetes, heart disease, and obesity, in addition to being connected to virtually every major chronic health condition, from Alzheimer’s disease and cancer to arthritis and premature aging.

I now exclusively see South Asian consult patients in my clinic and design health education and wellness programs for some of the most successful companies in the world. This blog will share my professional experience, cutting edge research, and my own personal journey in overcoming insulin resistance and achieving optimal health.

digital_prison_by_in_samity-d5jxepbI saw a patient recently who I suspected had issues with alcohol abuse.  A standard questionnaire we learned from medical training to identify alcohol addiction is known as the CAGE Criteria where “CAGE” is an acronym for the following:

C Have you ever felt you should Cut down on your drinking?

A Have people Annoyed you by criticizing your drinking?

G Have you ever felt bad or Guilty about your drinking?

E Eye opener: Have you ever had a drink first thing in the morning to steady your nerves or to get rid of a hangover?

Two affirmative responses are considered a positive test and indicate a high likelihood of alcoholism and the need for further evaluation.   As I was reflecting on this patient’s case and thinking about the CAGE criteria, I started substituting drinking with my more recently increased internet use resulting from my book release. If you swap the glass of alcohol with a smartphone, you can see that many of us, including myself are addicted to some degree.  I asked myself these same questions and answered yes to all of them.  The “eye opener” in particular is a good sign of intense addiction.  A casual, social drinker doesn’t normally crave alcohol when they wake up first thing in the morning.  An addict however craves stimulation after being deprived of their drug during sleep.  How many of you have an intense urge to check messages when you first wake up in the morning?  That’s because your brain has missed that steady dose of digital stimulation which triggers the release of dopamine, the pleasure chemical in our brain that’s also released by drugs like heroin.   You wake up craving that nice pulse of dopamine when that screen lights up your face and you see those new message notifications.

Now I added one more letter to the criteria to make it “CAGED.”  The “D” stands for driving.  Most alcoholics are able to hold back on drinking and driving being well aware of its risks.  However despite most of us knowing the clear risks of texting and driving or being engaged with our devices in any way, so many of us are guilty of mixing our device with our driving in some way.  There are nearly 500,000 reported crashes and 4,000 lives lost annually to distracted driving.   In fact, April is officially Distracted Driving Awareness Month.  Until we have legislation and a built-in solution to this problem, we may need to turn to other forms of technology as an interim solution.  A patient of mine whose teenage son had a car accident from texting and driving downloaded an App called LifeSaver which uses innovative technology to disable his smartphone when his car is in motion and provides digital rewards like iTunes, Amazon and Starbucks cards.

So ask yourself, are you “CAGED” into your digital world?  And if so, recognize that it is likely contributing to issues like high levels of stress, insomnia, obesity, musculoskeletal issues from poor posture and prolonged sitting, and risky driving, in addition to disconnecting us from nature and direct personal relationships.  Set boundaries by downloading downtime apps, turning on timers, or just scheduling digitally-free time so you can escape every now and then and connect to people and nature without being tethered to a device.  Make it a priority to unplug regularly throughout the day to improve your physical and mental health.




The Most Important Exercise You’re Not Doing Enough Of

March 28, 2014

We need to completely re-evaluate our approach to exercise given the weight of current evidence.  Back in the days when physical activity was a natural part of our life and daily habits, it was assumed that we took enough steps to interrupt the damaging metabolic effects of prolonged sitting frequently enough to disrupt fat storage […]

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Don’t Neglect Your Kidneys!

March 13, 2014

I’ve lectured and written a lot about the heart and the brain over the years, but I regret that I haven’t focused enough attention on the kidneys.  In honor of March being National Kidney month, I joined up with the National Kidney Foundation (NKF) to contribute this post.  Among the various patients I see in […]

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The Book Is Finally Here!

March 3, 2014

After what seems like an eternity, my book has finally arrived!  Check out the video below and read the book summary so you get a good idea of what this book covers.  It feels so rewarding to share all of the experience and success stories from my consult practice and corporate health education and wellness […]

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The Great Rice Controversy

February 24, 2014

I often get asked why South Asians need to significantly cut back on their rice intake to help them achieve optimal health.  After all, rice has been a traditional part of the South Asian and East Asian diet for generations.  I want to start off by saying there is nothing intrinsically unhealthy about rice other […]

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Heart Disease: A Preventable Tragedy

February 4, 2014

I’ve had the privilege of making a positive impact on the health of many patients and employees through my consult practice and employer wellness programs.   I share these stories often to educate and motivate patients and physicians.  Unfortunately I’m also haunted by tragic stories where healthy changes came too late or never came at […]

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This Antinutrient Is Abundant In Most South Asian Diets

January 20, 2014

What if I told you there is a substance most South Asian families are unknowingly consuming on a daily basis that may increase the risk of osteoporosis in adults, possibly reduce growth potential in kids, and cause essential vitamin and mineral deficiencies linked to a whole host of chronic health conditions?  Unfortunately there is such […]

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My Imperfect New Year’s Resolution

January 4, 2014

After giving my first TEDx lecture this past September in San Jose, I have intermittently immersed myself in the world of TED.  I was recently inspired by a talk given by Brene Brown that focused on some of the major side effects of perfectionism and the true power of being vulnerable.   Read this post, […]

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Metabolic Syndrome: What Cholesterol Guidelines Should Really Focus on

December 8, 2013

Background I recently had the opportunity to meet a medical hero of mine at the Stanford University faculty club.  Gerald “Jerry” Reaven is the renown endocrinologist and researcher (pictured with me) who coined the term metabolic syndrome and is author of Syndrome X: The Silent Killer.  I owe him my life given that his metabolic syndrome […]

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A Closer Look at the New Cholesterol Guidelines

November 14, 2013

Old Cholesterol Guideline Theme: It’s All About Your LDL Number When clinical guidelines come out, there are two major levels at which they’re interpreted.  The first interpretation is literal, following the guidelines to a tee.  However the more important interpretation is the guideline theme.  Most docs forget about the specific details over time and apply […]

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